Best Reds Moment of 2012

For the 768,394th time, the 2012 season did not end under the best of circumstances for the Reds or their fans. That will be the last time I personally say that.

Believe it or not, there were good moments for this team during the 2012 season. There was a record-breaking performance, a shaving, a clincher on national television, and a no-hitter from an unlikely pitcher. Sure, there were others that the 2012 Reds provided for us, here are five that resonate with me.

1. May 13 – Reds walk-off in “grand” style

Joey Votto had himself a game. A record setting game, in fact.

After enduring a long rain delay prior to the start of the game, the majority of the 28,361 had exited Great American Ball Park. Those that remained witnessed something that may be become a part of Reds lore. Those that chose to leave, well, missed one incredible singular performance.

Having hit a solo shot in the 1st and another in the 4th (both off Edwin Jackson), Votto was seemingly along for the rise as the Good Guys came to bat in the bottom of the 9th. The bases became loaded as Ryan Hanigan led off the inning with a single. He was forced at second on a Wilson Valdez bunt attempt. Miguel Cairo fouled out.

Gloom and doom were setting in.

Drew Stubbs and Chris Heisey were recipients of walks.

With two outs in the bottom of the 9th and the Nats clinging to a 6-5 lead, Votto strode to the plate to face fireball-throwing righty Henry Rodriguez. On a 2-2 pitch, Votto took the 96 MPH Rodriguez offering to deep to center field 413 feet away to provide the Reds with a 9-6 win. It was the Reds first baseman’s third home run of the game.

The record was that Votto became the first ever MLB player to hit three home runs in a game and the third being a walk-off grand slam.

See the walk-off slam again!

(Frank Victores-US PRESSWIRE)

2. June 26 – A-‘Roll’-dis

Here was Bronson Arroyo breezing along. Through 7.1 innings, Arroyo flirted with a no-hitter. Then the Brewers got to him by tying the score at 3 a piece after seven and a half innings. The Reds would regain the lead in the bottom of the 8th on a Drew Stubbs solo shot.

What happened in the top of the 9th, well, emerged as the story rather than Arroyo’s outing.

With the Reds up 4-3, Dusty Baker summoned Aroldis Chapman from the bullpen. The Cuban Missile had proven to be hittable and human in his previous two outings as he blew a save in Cleveland against the Indians and at home against the Twins. I his seven previous outings, Chapman was 0-4 with those two blown saves. Not the Chapman we had seen previously during the season.

It would be no easy task for Chapman either. The Brewers would send Ryan Braun, Aramis Ramirez and Travis Ishikawa. Okay, the first two were dangerous. Chapman got Braun swinging, but walked Ramirez on four pitches. The crowd at GABP was a buzz…not all good as Ramirez took his base.

Carlos Gomez was called upon to pinch-hit for Ishikawa. Three pitches later, Gomez was walking back to the dugout. George Kottaras was next, but Brewers skipper Ron Roenicke used Martin Maldonado. Four pitches, three swings with three misses and Chapman had capped off the win…and celebrated his triumph in a fashion we did not see coming.

Just watch the video

It wasn’t a “feat” that was appreciated by the guys in the Reds clubhouse, but it did inspire this.

Didn’t hurt being in attendance and seeing it live…thanks to the Reds.

3. August 3 – The Mercurial One with a ‘shining’ moment

Somewhere along the line, Reds Hall of Fame broadcaster Marty Brennaman had made a bet. If the 2012 Reds could reel off ten wins in a row, he would shave his head. Little did he figure it would happen. After the team accomplished the feat with a 7-2 win over Colorado Rockies on July 29th, Marty did more than uphold his end of the bargain.

As is the way of Marty, he went a step further.

In an effort to raise monies for the Reds Community Fund, Brennaman made another “bet”, one I’m sure he would not mind losing. If the fans could raise $20,000 for the Reds Community Fund, Marty would let all be privy to the shaving by having GABP host the event after the Pirates-Reds game. Reds fans did not fail as between the fans and corporate donations, $50,000 was raised (that $50,000 was later matched by avid Reds fan, Charlie Sheen).

You could tell Marty was getting as big a kick out the festivities as those Reds fans who had stuck around to witness the event, and leave it to Marty to engage us all and introduce many of us to a great cause.

Upon the shining of the cranium, Marty informed us all of The Dragonfly Foundation, a foundation created for cancer awareness. A good day for all.

If you go to this page, you can catch some moments from the evening when Marty made good…in more ways than one.

(Frank Victores-US PRESSWIRE)

4. September 22 – Reds clinch the NL Central

This team never wanted to “back-in” as winners of the NLC. They wanted to win that clinching game instead of laying to claim to the division title with the Cardinals suffering a loss. Mat Latos took the mound in an effort to lift the Reds to such. He did little to disappoint as the Reds rolled to a 6-0 win over the visiting Los Angeles Dodgers. I’d say 8 innings of 6 hit, 7 strikeout ball was sufficient.

The only run the Good Guys would need was a Jay Bruce mammoth home run off Stephen Fife of some 437 feet. While not nearly on the level of the Clinchmas 2010 home run off Tim Byrdak, this one may have had the 41,117 at GABP feeling the slightest bit reminiscent.

The Reds added more runs as a cushion, but they were not needed as the Reds pitching combo of Ltos and Aroldis Chapman dominated the game.

We saw the guys jumping up and down celebrating their feat…for a minute or two thanks to FOX and some college football game. What “sparked” a bigger brouhaha was the absence of any real post game celebration due to Fox Sports Ohio losing the feed into Cincinnati.

Yes, I’m over it. Well, sort of.

Here’s an edited version of the final inning.

5. September 28 – Homer and the No-no

If there is one Reds pitcher that has been repeatedly questioned regarding his abilities, physical and/or mental, it has been without question Homer Bailey. This single game may have qulled some of those questions and maybe we’re now seeing the Homer Bailey some of thought the Reds were getting when they drafted him 7th overall in the 2004 draft.

As I mesmerized staring at the screen, I could not believe I was witnessing history. Who honestly had “This season Homer Bailey will toss a no-hitter for the Reds” in the office pool?

Prior to Bailey‘s effort, the last no-no by a Reds pitcher was when Tom Browning hurled his perfect game back in 1988.

Bailey would not stop after this game either. He would not allow a run in his last regular season game (even though he only pitched 4 innings). Bailey was superb in Game 3 of the NLDS. Again, no runs during his 7 innings of work and 10 whiffs. He carried a no-no through 5.2 innings.

Got to ask. Has Homer truly arrived?

Watch Homer seal the deal against the Pirates!

As I stated, there are other moments that made 2012 special, but these five immediately stand out to me. If you have one other than the four listed and you believe it should be mentioned, leave that within our comments so we can all re-live that moment.

Of these four I have described, which one do you think was the Best Reds Moment for 2012?